The Morning Mix

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If you don’t know who Jack Taylor is by now, you’re in for a treat. We got a great Morning Mix lined up for you today. Enjoy.

Wednesday’s Top Games:
2:30 p.m. – Mississippi State vs. Texas
4:00 p.m. – Auburn @ Boston College
5:00 p.m. – Marquette vs. USC
7:00 p.m. – George Washington @ Notre Dame
7:00 p.m. – Morehead State @ No. 8 Kentucky
7:00 p.m. – Princeton @ No. 6 Syracuse
8:00 p.m. – Delaware vs. Kansas State
8:00 p.m. – UNC-Wilmington @ Purdue
9:00 p.m. – Eastern Washington @ USC-Upstate
9:30 p.m. – No. 4 Michigan vs. Pittsburgh
10:30 p.m. – Arkansas-Pine Bluff @ No. 22 San Diego State
2:00 a.m. – Belmont @ Alaska-Anchorage

Top Stories:
Division-III guard Jack Taylor scored 138 points last night: Yup, that’s right. Grinnell College senior Jack Taylor shot 52-108 from the floor and 27-71 from three en route to a 179-104 win over Faith Baptist Bible College. This is just insane. Incredible. Jack Taylor, you sire are my hero.

Exclusive interview with Jack Taylor: Jack Taylor was kind enough to spend a few moments with NBC Sports following his historic performance. He says he stopped counting after 50. Welcome to the history books, kid.

Texas needs Myck Kabongo, but is he the answer?: The Longhorns have had a rough go of things in Maui, losing to Chaminade and USC in back-to-game days. However, they were without their best player, Myck Kobongo who is being investigated by the NCAA. But when Kabongo returns, will he be enough to fix the Longhorns’ issues?

Cody Zeller’s stats may go down this year, but that’s a good thing: With all the talent surrounding Cody Zeller at Indiana, his numbers are likely to decrease this year. But considering he has so much talent around him, this won’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Hoops Housekeeping:
– Tough news for Penn State, as their star player Tim Frazier will miss the rest of the season due to an Achilles injury he suffered against Akron on Sunday (Eye On College Basketball)

– Michigan State freshman guard Gary Harris is expected to miss the next two weeks because of a shoulder injury (Mlive.com)

– Indiana is still waiting to hear from the NCAA regarding the suspension appeals of Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin (Hoosier Scoop)

Observations & Insight:
– Rutgers’ decision to leave the Big East leaves an uncertain future for basketball-only members (New Jersey Star Ledger)

– A great read on the roller coaster ride that Hofstra guard Shaq Stokes has been on (Big Apple Buckets)

– Luke Winn learned a lot from the Georgetown/Indiana game. He kind enough to share his knowledge with us (Sports Illustrated)

– Georgetown isn’t ranked in the top-25, but after a successful trip to Brooklyn, it’s clear that the Hoyas are one of the 20 best teams in the country (ESPN)
– Advanced statistics from JAck Taylor’s performance. Be warned. These numbers may literally blow your mind (Basketball Prospectus)

– As the UCLA Bruins continue to develop this season, the Anderson/Muhammad chemistry will be a key to success (SNY.tv)

News & Notes:
– You’re kidding me right? Virginia and Boston College to the B1G? Jim Delaney clearly isn’t done making moves yet. (Corn Nation)

– Morehead State head coach Sean Woods has apologized for his critical comments regarding the current culture of college players. the head coach was a member of Kentucky’s “Unforgettables” 1991-1992 squad (Courier-Journal)

– The NCAA is taking a hard stance on former-Miami players that were linked to former-booster Nevin Shapiro (Miami Herald)

– The Georgetown/Florida game that was prematurely cancelled aboard the USS Bataan may end up getting rescheduled (USA Today)

Dunk of the Day: Ben McLemore has no problem dunking over his own teammates (Ballin’ is a Habit)

Video(s) of the Day:
Nasty scuffle results in six ejections during the Southern Illinois/SIU-Edwardsville game last night (OVC Ball)

Video(s) of the Day:
Rotnei Clarke’s buzzer-beater may have just been topped thanks to Georgia State’s Rashaad Richardson and his half-court buzzer-beater to knock off Tennessee State 59-57

Do you like the new Morning Mix? Hate it? Have a suggestion or wanted something featured? Troy Machir will take all your praise, insults and inquiries via Twitter (@TroyMachir)

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.